Kelly Clarkson Is Hated And Here’s Why

by Noiz 27. March 2015 09:25

Kelly Clarkson Is Hated And Here’s Why

What’s wrong with Kelly Clarkson?

Why is she popular music’s whipping post?

Clarkson is like the anti-Beyoncé.  While you can’t say anything bad about Beyoncé, you pretty much have to say something bad about Clarkson.

Since becoming a diva, Clarkson can’t get anyone but country music artists to sing with her.  Pop and rock acts don’t want to touch her with a ten-foot microphone stand.

"I honestly would collaborate with a lot of people, but everyone usually says no," Clarkson told BBC Radio 1 in February.

Why?

Clarkson can sing and she can sing just about anything.  Her catalog of hits include such divergent songs as “Miss Independent,” “Since U Been Gone,” "My Life Would Suck Without You," “Mr. Know It All,” and “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).”

Esquire magazine said she has “the best voice in the history of pop music.” 

This “best voice” sounds just as good live as it does in the studio which is why she’s participated in more than ten concert tours in the last decade.  That includes her upcoming “Piece by Piece Tour”—her trek begins July 11 in Hershey.  Look for Kelly Clarkson concerts in New York City, Toronto, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, and Dallas.

Clarkson seems like a decent person.  She has contributed considerable time and money to a variety of charities.  Whenever she does an interview she comes across as down-to-Earth and relatable.

All that didn’t stop British journalist Katie Hopkins from posting on Twitter: “Jesus, what happened to Kelly Clarkson? Did she eat all of her backing singers?  Happily I have wide-screen.”

Hopkins was responding to Clarkson’s recent appearance on a popular British talk show.  She went on to Tweet: “Darling, if you had a baby a year ago, that is not baby weight.  It is fat.  Quite calling it cute names to make yourself feel better.”

Some have accused Hopkins of being an opportunist.  Regardless of her intentions, she didn’t have to attack Clarkson’s weight and she didn’t have to do it with such vitriol. 

It’s true that Clarkson is no size zero but her waistline doesn’t mean she deserves scorn and ridicule.  Clarkson doesn’t have the same figure as other divas; she has the same figure as her fans.

So why is Clarkson so excoriated and the target of so much hatred?

Is it because of her politics? 

Clarkson once said she loved Ron Paul and that she’s not a hardcore feminist. 

I don’t think this is it.  She might be Rush Limbaugh when compared to most people in the entertainment business but she did vote for Barack Obama twice.

Is it because she’s critical of other artists?

After the 2013 VMAs (the one where Robin Thicke performed with Miley Cyrus), Clarkson tweeted “#pitchystrippers.” 
I don’t think this is it either.  Clarkson never named names (people inferred she was talking about Cyrus), and she only said what we were all thinking.

The reason Kelly Clarkson is pop music’s red-headed stepchild is she won American Idol.  People don’t like the fact that she didn’t come up through the usual ranks but won an overblown karaoke contest. 

Some resent the fact that Clarkson didn’t pay her dues.

I understand and respect the concept of “paying dues” but to say Clarkson is any less of a performer because she won American Idol is ridiculous. 

Who’s to say that winning American Idol, even the show’s first season, is less of an arduous route to musical fame then the supposed organic routes?

Also, if you think all big time artists toiled in anonymity for years, sleep in cars, and suffered numerous rejections before becoming a star you’re absolutely wrong.

>>Fitz and The Tantrums were founded in late 2008 and in less than a year they had played the Viper Room, opened eight concerts for Maroon 5, and released an EP.  They band immediately clicked and because of that their success came easily and quickly.  Clarkson tried out for American Idol in May of 2002 and her first album came out in April of 2003.

>>Christina Aguilera competed in local talent shows as child—she won her first talent competition when she was eight.  She also competed on Star Search (a precursor to American Idol).  None of that has dogged her career like American Idol has dogged Clarkson’s.

>>Rihanna was introduced to vacationing record producer Evan Rogers when she was 15 because her friends told Rogers’ wife that she was always singing and performing.  Less than two years later, Rihanna released her debut album, Music of the Sun.  Just like Clarkson had to sing to the judges to get her “golden ticket” to Los Angeles, Rihanna had to sing to Rogers and did so in his hotel room.

>>Meghan Trainor won songwriting competitions that led to her being signed to a publishing deal when she was just 18.  She was signed to Epic Records three months after turning 21.

>>Bruno Mars moved to Los Angeles in 2003 when he was just 17.  The next year he signed with Motown Records.  The contract yielded nothing, but it did lead to him signing another music publishing deal in 2005.

>>Drake released his first mixtape when he was 20.  Dizzy, however, was already famous, at least in Canada, thanks to starring in the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation.  He landed that role because one of his high school buddies’ father was an agent.

>>Adele’s friend posted a three-song demo she made as a school project on Myspace.  That led to the head of her future record label giving her a call.  Her first album, 19, came out less than two years later.

>>Justin Bieber was discovered by Scooter Braun after the latter accidently clicked on the former’s YouTube video.  Biebers met Usher a week later and released his first single less than two years later. 

I’m not claiming that any of the above artists didn’t work hard, didn’t pay their dues, or didn’t suffer for their art.  But they experienced just as much good fortunate and luck as Kelly Clarkson did.

In many ways, I think coming up through a medium like American Idol is harder than the traditional way—whatever that is.  If you win American Idol it sticks with you like an albatross around your neck.  Clarkson won the first season of A.I. 13 years ago and we’re still talking about it.

If you fail to win American Idol, then people within the industry can say: “if you can’t win a televised singing competition how will you be able to sell records?”

Of course, it doesn’t really matter how you’re discovered.  You still have to get it done in the recording studio and you still have to sell concert tickets. 

Clarkson is the 14th bestselling artist of the 2000s,  she’s won three Grammy Awards, and she’s sold hundreds of thousands of concert tickets to venues all over the world.

You don’t put together an impressive resume like that just because you won a glorified karaoke contest.    You put together an impressive resume like that because you’re talented. 

Kelly Clarkson is talented and she deserves our respect.

It should be about what you do not how you got started.

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Ten Reasons Why You Should See The Eagles In Concert

by Noiz 19. March 2015 12:53

Ten Reasons Why You Should See The Eagles In Concert

If you own Hotel California on vinyl, or bought Eagles concert tickets when the band featured Don Felder (or know who Don Felder is), then this article isn’t for you. 

That doesn’t mean you should stop reading—not at all, you might learn something—but I wanted you to be prepared for what follows.  This article is intended for young music fans who think the Eagles are nothing more than a band their (grand)parents listen to.

Eagles just announced a new round of concert dates for the United States.  The leg is part of the band’s “History of the Eagles Tour.”  The trek began in 2013 and was launched to support their successful documentary of the same name.

Eagles haven’t rocked North America since October.  During February and March, they gallivanted around Australia.

Their first date back in the New World is set for May 19 in Austin, Texas.  Their last scheduled gig is July 29 in Bossier City.  You should also look for the Eagles in Las Vegas on May 24, Miami on July 10, and Detroit on July 24.

Since three of the four members of the band are 67 (the other is 66), this could be the last time the Eagles launch a tour of this magnitude.  Therefore, if the Eagles come to your town you need to be in the crowd.

I’m not asking you to abandon your Taylor Swifts, or your Mark Ronsons, or even your Ed Sheerans.  I’m just imploring you to add some Eagles.  In that vein, here are ten reasons why young music fans should see the Eagles in concert…

One of the Greatest Rock Bands of All-Time
The Eagles are one of the greatest rock bands of all-time.  Meaning, when you see them in concert you can say that you saw a legendary rock band perform live.  Every student of rock agrees with the aforementioned statement but to back it up let me say that the Eagles are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

One of the Bestselling Bands of All-Time
Another reason why seeing the Eagles live gives you bragging rights is they are one of the bestselling rock bands of all-time and the bestselling American rock band in U.S. history.  They’ve sold more than 150 million albums.  Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) album has sold more than 42 million copies while their seminal release, Hotel California, has moved another 32 million units.

Great Songwriting
You can’t sell 150 million albums without writing some great music.  The Eagles have certainly composed a bunch of great tunes since forming in 1971.  The band’s primary songwriters are Don Henley and Glenn Fry.  Most of the band’s compositions are characterized by memorable melodies and sagacious lyrics.  Some of their best known tracks are “Tequila Sunrise,” “Witchy Woman,” “One of These Nights,” and “Take It to the Limit.”  Perhaps their greatest song is the following entry on our list…

“Hotel California”
“Hotel California” is to soft rock what “Stairway to Heaven” is to hard rock.  Both songs have haunting lyrics, mesmerizing melodies, and iconic guitar solos.  “Hotel California” was written by Don Henley, Don Felder (who’s no longer with the band), and Glenn Frey.  When it was first released in 1977 many people thought the song was about the devil and his dominion.  In their documentary, Henley said the song is about the journey one takes from innocence to experience. 

Punk Music
Pundits frequently label the Eagles’ sound as “California rock.”  That subgenre has been described many ways but it’s basically a laid-back brand of rock that’s polished, bloated, and completely devoid of the rebellious spirit found in the music of the major bands from the previous decade. 

The Eagles, and bands like them, exemplified for many young people everything that was wrong with rock music in the 1970s.  Out of their frustration came punk music.  Sure, it’s a little more complicated than that, but clearly the Eagles inspire a generation of musicians to “Beat on the Brat” or if they lived on the other side of the pond, to embrace “Anarchy in the UK.”

Don Henley
Don Henley is the “Paul McCartney” of American rock music. He’s also the “Phil Collins” as he sings lead and plays the drums.  Henley sang and co-wrote many of the Eagles’ greatest songs.  As a solo artist, he’s responsible for hits like “Dirty Laundry,” “The Boys of Summer,” and “New York Minute.”  Seeing Henley in concert means you’re seeing a living legend.

Glenn Frey
In the Eagles, Glen Frey is the creative “yin” to Henley’s “yang.”  The guitarist and keyboardist crooned many of the Eagles’ biggest hits including “Heartache Tonight,” “New Kid in Town,” and “Take It Easy.”  His solo career reached it zenith thanks to the success of “The Heat Is On.”  Frey has also done some acting.  He starred in episodes of Miami Vice, Nash Bridges, Wiseguy, and Arli$$, and can be seen in the film Jerry Maguire. 

Joe Walsh
Joe Walsh is one of the greatest rock guitarists of all-time.  He joined the Eagles a year before they released the album Hotel California.  Walsh gave the band a rock edge without disrupting their chemistry.  In terms of contributions to rock music (he’s been in several other successful bands, has a productive solo career, and is a sought after studio musician), Walsh probably falls somewhere between Henley and Frey.

Timothy B. Schmit
Bassist Timothy B. Schmit joined the Eagles in 1978.  He’s a great rock bassist and an integral part of the Eagles.  His main claim to fame, however, is coining the term “Parrot Heads.”  Schmit used to be a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band.

Live Performance
When the Eagles take the stage you’re going to notice that they are holding these strange objects.  Don’t be afraid, those objects are called “musical instruments” and the members of the band are well-trained in their use. 

I exaggerated for comedic effect but I do have a point.  The Eagles are from an era where you didn’t use backup dancers, there was no choreography, and stage effects were non-existence, or at the most minimal.  The Eagles’ focused has always been on making the best music possible.   While acts still have that attitude, the era of being able to achieve worldwide success organically, and on musical proficiency alone, is over.

The Eagles are a dying breed, but their success—achieved via talent, creativity, and wisdom—has built a foundation that’s still supporting today’s major artists.  The musicians you’re currently listening to owe a debt of gratitude to the Eagles.  That’s why you should see them in concert.  Attending an Eagles show is literally witnessing a bit of popular music history.

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Shania Twain Lost $145 Million During Her Retirement

by Noiz 13. March 2015 10:51

Shania Twain Lost $145 Million During Her Retirement

"This is going to be a big, big tour for me because it's going to be my last."

The above quote is from the “Queen of Country Pop” Shania Twain.  The best-selling female artist in the history of country music has pretty much been on the sidelines for the past decade.  She’s returning in 2015 with her ultimate concert tour and an album.

Twain hopes to release her first new studio album in 13 years on her 50th birthday.  Eilleen Regina Edwards from Windsor, Ontario breaks the half-century mark on August 28.

Her “Rock This Country Tour” begins July 5 in Seattle.  Her final concert ever takes place Aug. 24 in Fresno, California.  The Shania Twain tour is set to visit Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

This will be Twain’s first tour since her 2003-2004 “Up!” trek.

Retirement
Twain’s hiatus from the music industry is well documented.  Between 2004 and now, the artist has only released a few morsels of music and made a smattering of public appearances.

Many believe Twain’s decade-long break from the spotlight was due to her husband, producer Robert “Mutt Lange,” sleeping with her best friend.  That sordid affair actually happened a few years into her self-imposed exile. 

While the betrayal certainly contributed to her absence it was actually the pressure of performing and vocal problems that started her premature retirement in 2004.

The Million Dollar Question
Perhaps it’s more complicated than that.  Perhaps it’s less complicated.  Either way, fans have been deprived of ten years’ worth of Shania Twain music and performances.

Of course, I think a more interesting question to ask is what has Twain missed?  Namely, how much money would Twain have earned if she had not said adieu to the business?

Accolades
Amazingly, Twain became the “Queen of Pop Country” on the strength of just four studio albums and two major concert tours!

Twain has sold 75 million albums and her tours grossed more than $180 million.   She’s the only female artist, regardless of genre, to have three straight LPs sell more than ten million copies.

Album Sales
Twain released albums in 1993, 1995, 1997, and 2002.  That’s an average of one album every three years.  Let’s keep that timetable and assume Twain would have released new studio works in 2005, 2008, and 2011.

Now, record sales have steadily declined since Twain retired so I’m going to assume that none of the three proposed imaginary albums reached ten million in sales.  I’m also going to assume that Twain failed to put up Taylor Swift-like sales figures. 

I think on her laurels alone each of three studio albums would have sold at least two million units.  Her 2005 release, riding on the sales figures of Up! would have probably eclipsed the five million plateau.

To make our accounting simple, I’m going to say Twain’s three imaginary albums combined to sell ten million units.

Figuring that the average price of an album (physical or digital) is about $10, and artists gets about 13 percent of album sales... Twain lost out on more than $13 million.

Let’s add another $2 million from internet sources like Spotify, YouTube, and Pandora.

In total, Twain would have made $15 million on recorded music during the decade she was musically indisposed.

Tour Grosses
Twain’s two tours were five years apart.  I think she would have toured more frequently than that as the stage is far more lucrative than the studio.

I’m therefore going to say Twain would have toured three times during the ten years she was sidelined. 

Both of her actual tours contained more than a hundred Shania Twain concerts.  Again for the sake of simplicity, we’ll pretend that her three tours each contained one hundred shows.  In other words, Twain could have performed a total of 300 gigs during her excommunication. 

In 2006, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill launched the “Soul2Soul II Tour” and grossed $141 million or $1.1 million a concert.

From 2002 to 2005, Cher’s “Living Proof” trek made $260 million from 325 shows.  For those keeping score at home, that’s $800,000 a night.

The “Taking Chances World Tour” raked in $280.2 million.  That 2008-2009 odyssey saw Celine Dion perform 132 shows on five continents.  Her nightly gate receipts topped $2 million.

Lastly, Taylor Swift’s “The Red Tour” raked in $150 million over 86 shows.  That was good enough to make Swift about $1.7 million an evening.

I think those four tours are good analogs to any tour Twain would have undergone during the 2000s and the early part of the 2010s.  The average nightly take for the aforementioned concerts is $1.1 million.  Since math is hard, let’s make it an even million.

Therefore, Twain whiffed on grossing $300 million from touring.  While it all depends on the artist, most keep about forty percent of the cash they make from concerts.  Therefore, Twain lost the opportunity to pocket $120 million.

>>One could argue a $1 million a show is too much since that’s about twice as much per show as she made during her Las Vegas residency.   I don’t think a Las Vegas residency is ever an analog for a tour.  Seeing a show in Las Vegas, and seeing an artist on tour, are two completely different beasts.  They are not comparable.

Miscellaneous Income
Twain is drop dead gorgeous but very relatable.   Meaning, men think she’s hot and women don’t hate her because she’s beautiful.  So she probably would have endorsed a couple of big name products (she still endorsed a few while she was away) and probably would have had at least one lucrative television gig. 

Also, who knows how much merchandize she would have sold during the ten years her head was in the proverbial sand?

So let’s add another $10 million.  If that sounds like a lot from miscellaneous sources just break it down.  It’s only $1 million a year for the “Queen of Pop Country.”

The Bottom Line
That means the decade Shania Twain was away from the music industry she lost $145 million dollars.

It’s just a number, and you may accuse me of pulling it out of thin air, but any way you look at it Twain’s decade long absence was costly.

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Madonna, Madonna Tours Still Relevant

by Noiz 9. March 2015 07:58

Madonna, Madonna Tours Still Relevant

Journalist Emily Jupp, writing for The Independent Web site, recently asked is Madonna still relevant?

The full title of her tome was “Is Madonna still relevant? Making an ass of herself at the Grammys may have signalled the end of the queen of pop.”

In her article, Jupp documents several superficial reasons why Her Madgesty is no longer relevant.

Of course, just asking if someone is relevant makes them relevant.  No one is asking if Grahame Skinner* is still relevant.

One of Jupp’s premises for Madonna’s irrelevancy is her recent Grammy Awards performance. 

According to Jupp, 2014 was the “year of the rear.”  Personally, I missed that memo.  While on the Grammy stage, Madonna bared most of her behind.  Yet, according to Jupp the “ass” is passé in 2015 because Rihanna and Sia (whoever she is) covered themselves up at another high profiled event.

To sum it all up, Jupp believes Madonna is irrelevant because she showed her ass to the world two months too late.

Jupp has buried the lead.  Who cares about the “year of the rump?”  The headline is a 56-year-old Madonna showed off her tuchus and it was glorious.  It shined like that briefcase in Pulp Fiction.  If I was 56, and had a backside like Madonna I would never wear pants—at least I’d wear nothing but tight pants as that would go over better in public.

Jupp does bring Madonna’s music into her argument by mentioning the fact that Madge’s latest single, “Living for Love,” was pulled from Radio 1’s playlist.  Her opinion is that the British station pulled the song from their rotation because it doesn’t resonate with those between the ages of 15 and 29.

Even if Jupp’s assumption is correct, and Madonna’s latest single doesn’t resonate with teens and 20-somethings, that doesn’t mean she’s irrelevant.   It just means music fans with the mean age of 21 don’t want to hear her latest single.

No offense to the aforementioned age group but they’re not the measuring stick of quality—if for no other reason than they lack experience.   Young people are nothing more than a demographic. 

In effect, Jupp is discrediting Madonna because the music industry no longer markets her music to young people.  That’s not surprising.  The music industry has seldom marketed music made by 50-somethings to young people and that statement has never been truer than it is today.

The question Jupp should be asking is not “is Madonna relevant,” but “which of the current batch of relevant artists will be around in thirty years?”

So Madonna’s music isn’t being purchased or listened to by young people.  Again, that doesn’t mean she’s irrelevant. 

At 56, Madonna has recently performed at the Grammy Awards and the Brit Awards—neither are as hip as the MTV Video Music Awards but the events are nowhere near an episode of the Laurence Welk Show.

MDNA released her 13 studio album, Rebel Heart, on March 6.  The opus has Madonna working with such “relevant” artists as Kanye West, Ryan Tedder, Avicii, Diplo, and Toby Gad.

On August 29, the North American leg of Madonna’s “Rebel Heart Tour” kicks off in Miami, Florida.  It ends Oct. 27 in Los Angeles. 

In between those two dates, Madonna will visit nearly 20 cities including New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, and Las Vegas.  After touring America and Canada, Madonna heads to Europe.

“Rebel Heart” is likely to be one of the highest grossing tours of the year.  If that doesn’t mean she’s relevant I don’t know what does.

Madonna’s last trek, “The MDNA Tour” was not only the highest grossing tour of 2012 but the 12th highest-grossing tour of all-time and the second highest-grossing tour ever by a female artist (Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet Tour is number one).

Madonna is the bestselling female artists of all-time and the top touring female artists of all-time.  She’s also the template for just about every female singer that’s currently “relevant.” 

From Britney Spears to Beyoncé to Katy Perry to Ariana Grande, they’re all doing their own version Madonna. 

In many ways, asking if Madonna is relevant is insulting.  Madonna is a trailblazer, pioneer, and legend.  She has earned the right to do whatever she wants.  She also doesn’t need the validation of any age group especially one that wasn’t even born when she was doing her best work.

One more thing, Jupp had the audacity to write: “[Madonna] has just cottoned on to electronic dance music.”

Excuse me?

Madonna was into EDM while guys like Shrillex and Excision still thought “Molly” was only a girl’s name. 

Madonna may not resonate with kids whose biggest problem is what to wear to the prom but she’s still relevant.  The bulk of that relevancy comes through her legacy but it’s still very clear that Madonna has a lot to say.

*Grahame Skinner was the lead singer of the Scottish band Hipsway.  Their single “Honeytheif” (a fairly decent song) peaked at number 19 on the Hot 100 in 1986.

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